Missouri Football: 10 Young Tigers Who Could Become Legends
Every year, there is a certain level of optimism that surrounds each college football program and their young talent.
It will no different for the Missouri Tigers in 2011, as head coach Gary Pinkel has stocked his team with a plethora of young, talented playmakers.
From a young, dual-threat QB to a potential stud defensive end, MU has many players who are just waiting in the wings to make an impact on this team.
Here are 10 players who could become household names in Columbia for years to come.
QB James Franklin
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The heir apparent to former Mizzou QB Blaine Gabbert should finally get his chance to shine this season as the starting signal-caller for the Tigers.
Franklin is a dual-threat QB, and it could be his ground game that could make him a star for Missouri in the future.
He showed some of this last season when he rushed for 116 yards and two TDs in limited action.
Franklin has alot of upside and has the potential to become another Brad Smith-type quarterback for Missouri going forward.
RB Henry Josey
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Josey say the field alot in his freshman season for the Tigers, thanks in part to the dismissal of former All-Big 12 running back Derrick Washington from the program last August.
He had a productive first season, picking up 437 yards on the ground, while averaging nearly six yards per carry and reaching the end zone five times.
He is currently listed as the main backup to senior Devion Moore and junior Kendial Lawrence, but he should still see the field on a regular basis in 2011.
Josey is a very good runner with deceptive speed, and he will have a great chance to lock down the starting RB spot over the next couple seasons.
DE Derrion Thomas
Derrion Thomas has potential star written all over him, thanks to the great genes that he possesses.
Thomas is, of course, the son of former NFL great Derrick Thomas, and displayed similar pass-rushing skills to that of his father when he had 15 sacks in his senior year at Blue Springs South high in 2008.
Although he is much smaller than his famous father, he will have plenty of time to build some muscle while at Mizzou.
It will be tough for him to have significant playing time this season, but he should make in impact in 2012 and will be a player to look out for in the future.
WR Marcus Lucas
The former Liberty High star has the size and abilities to become an elite WR at the Division I level.
He became a big time recruit after amassing 1,200 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior year for the Blue Jays.
At 6'5:, he can create matchup problems all over the field for opposing defensive backs.
After not contributing much in his freshman season, look for Lucas to get some more playing time in Missouri's spread offense in '11.
C Mitch Morse
Morse is one of the better OL recruits who Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel has been able to bring into the program.
At 6'6", 280 lbs, Morse is a big, mauling center, who is also very athletic for his size.
Currently, he has listed as the backup center heading into summer practices, but this could easily change before the start of the season.
Morse has the potential to become another All-Big 12 Center, just like former Mizzou center Tim Barnes was over the few seasons.
WR L'Damian Washington
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Washington is a tall and lanky receiver who is also very athletic as well.
At 6'4" and 180 lbs, he still has some room to fill out his frame, which he could start doing as early as this season.
He will have a hard time cracking the starting lineup this fall, as he will have to beat out third-year starter Jerrell Jackson.
Since he is only a sophomore, I expect Washington to become a weapon for QB James Franklin over the next two seasons.
NT Lucas Vincent
This local product was one of the best DT recruits in the nation for the Class of 2010.
Vincent has great technique for the defensive tackle position, but will need to work on getting bigger if he wants to become a star at Missouri in his future.
He has boatloads of potential, and if he lives up to his hype, he could leave Missouri as one of the best DTs in the school's history.
Like many on this list, he will likely be a backup this season, but he will get his chance to shine in the coming years.
S Braylon Webb
Webb made this list after turning in an very impressive spring game that saw him notch seven tackles, and show a great nose for the ball.
He projects as a backup free safety for this season, but could see some playing time due to the inexperience of Missouri's secondary heading into 2011.
He is a practice warrior and will only getter better with time.
I look for him to take over the strong safety spot next season.
DE Matt Hoch
Matt Hoch is the brother of current Mizzou starting RT Dan Hoch, and like his brother, he is very talented as well.
The big difference with Matt is that is one of the side of the line, as he projects to be a defensive end for the Tigers.
Hoch as a sack machine in high school, picking up 34 for his career, including an incredible 15 in his senior season for Harlan Community High.
If Matt is anywhere near as good as his brother has been, look out, Tiger fans.
S Tavon Bolden
Bolden enters the summer as the starting FS in Missouri's secondary and for good reason.
He is great size for the position at 6'2, 205 lbs, and is very solid in coverage.
Bolden appears to be another under-the-radar recruit from Texas who Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel seems to find with ease.
He will immediately give Mizzou's secondary a lift and could really blossom into a special player in the future.